Wicked is one of my favorite musicals of all time. For further information on my addiction to musicals please see my past blog posts. Regardless one of the parts that always makes me cry is the song “For Good”. The song reflects what happens when we meet people who utterly change us.
For me that person was the girl who would be one of my closest high school friends.
In eighth grade my mother had told me about a girl she thought I would be friends with. We were in the same Girl Scout troop, did orchestra together and apparently both shared an interest in writing and books. At the time I brushed it off, but it wasn’t til later that I valued my mother’s advice.
I don’t remember exactly when it started. I know we were paired up as duet partners. I know we shared a note (mentioned in earlier blog posts) about our writing. I know I wrote her an email one night when I sensed she was hurting. I think that’s one of the great mysteries of friendship. It is very rare that you can define exactly where and when it started. It’s more of a process.
Either way as we developed a friendship based on our novels, I began to start working on my writing with more fervor.
Every day I would come to school ready to share about my latest story ideas or hand over one of the latest sections for reading. I appreciated the encouragement she gave me as well as the small bits of critique.
Sometimes I thought of us as Lewis and Tolkien (and admittedly I was jealous when she popped out a novel before I did even with my years of work). It was not uncommon for similarities to occur in our writing. We would laugh when we both ended up writing about a Jesse, or both ended up with prostitutes as protagonists, or somehow managed to both have similar dashing rescues. I would always just chuckle and remind her that years down the road people would look back and see how much we had affected one another.
My writing drastically changed over our four years of high school. Much of the change can be accounted to the maturity I gained, the new knowledge from classes, but a large part of it also falls on the influence of my friend.
She encouraged me to embrace a darker part of myself. While that part had always been there I had never been willing to recognize it. As I became older and her own writing (usually writing containing deaths and tragedy) became a regular read for me, I started to write a bit more darkly than I had previously.
Suddenly characters were dying. My protagonists were facing suicide, rape, war and other terrors of the larger world. Stories were not nearly as “happy” as they had been before. She did not kill my romantic nature. I retained the idea that a story that brings some piece of hope is the best. However, my developments caused my stories to largely shift. As time passed I gave up my childhood works and moved on towards new goals.
I am thankful for her in so many ways. With her at my side I finished two works and started many more. I received some of my best ideas so far and began to understand more about myself, the world, and writing as a whole. She solidified in me my desire to be an author and placed in me hope for one day getting published.
If you are reading this, my friend, know you have forever changed me and I thank you for it. I wish you the best of luck with your pursuits wherever they may lead you and pray that you will never forget the specialness of your written works. Thanks for changing me for good.